Writer’s Block…a bad place to be

I know I have been absent.  It is not because I haven’t had time to blog.  I have had a couple of days that were not too full this week.  To be honest it is because I have been suffering from a horrible case of writer’s block.

I have not been “inspired” to write about anything.  Sometimes I think I should carry around a little recorder in case I get an idea.  I used to have one, but I loaned it out to someone who had that very same idea, and it never made it home.  And since I don’t want to buy another one, I suppose that idea is out.  I do carry my phone with me almost everywhere I go, and I suppose I could look for a mini recorder app.  I am sure that would work just as well.

I did try to get some help for my writers block, so I put it on Facebook and asked for suggestions.  I got two responses.  One asking if I had tried the new Brownie Brittle?  She knows I have been trying to eat organic and watch my calories lately. Maybe she anted me to do a review?  ;-P  And another saying I could talk about why there are mosquitoes, etc.  To be honest, I have to say I am not sure what purpose mosquitoes have in the world?  Cockroaches either.  I know there are many bugs that have many valuable contributions.  Such as ladybugs, mayflys, silk worms.  The list goes on and on.  But mosquitoes?

So now I am going to put it out there to the rest of you.  Is there a topic that interests you?  Something you think I should write about?  Lat me know.  Unblock me!!!

writers-block-150x150

Chocolate Fudge Brownies….ala Jillian Michaels!

Recently Karol (aka Bluebell) an I went to see Jillian Michaels speak during her “Maximize Your Life” Tour.  We have always been Jillian Michaels fans, but to say her talk was inspiring would be an understatement!!  It was life changing!

The first hour she talked about food and fitness, and the second hour she talked about life.  She was a life coach for an hour.  She was so authentic and it felt like we were just sitting in a living room talking. She was funny, and she was informative while at the same time being genuine and “real”.

I was already on-board the fitness and “eating right” mind set, but Karol wasn’t so it was derailing me.  Now we are both moving in the same direction, and it is amazing!!  I have lost 4 pounds in just the first week!!  Karol lost 4.6 pounds!  We have changed the way we eat and are exercising 5 days every week!

Jillian doesn’t believe in deprivation, she believes in doing sweets the right way.  With less refined sugar and healthier choices.  So if you are “jonesing for chocolate” as Jillian puts it, these brownies are just the ticket!  They are moist and fudgy and only 86 calories!!!  They are little bites of heaven.  If you have the calories available in your daily consumption you could cut them into 8 pieces instead of 16 and they would still be only 172 calories!!

JILLIAN MICHAELS CHOCOLATE FUDGE BROWNIES

  • Olive oil spray
  • 2/3 cup mild honey, such as clover or orange blossom
  • 1/3 cup natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8″ square pan with olive oil. Set aside.
  • Place the honey in a large glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until the honey is runny and just bubbling, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the cocoa and stir with a fork until well combined. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  • In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, oil, egg and vanilla. Whisk together until well blended. Add the honey and cocoa mixture, then whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and stir until no traces of flour remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake until the surface looks dry around the edges of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing into 16 two-inch squares. Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 86.2 kcal Fat: 2.2 g Protein: 1.3 g Carbohydrates: 16.0 g Sodium: 63.6 mg

Ingredients (note Jillian does not endorse these products, they are what I had in my pantry)
Ingredients (note Jillian does not endorse these products, they are what I had in my pantry)

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl:

Mix dry ingredients together
Mix dry ingredients together

Microwave the honey until it is runny:

Honey mixture after being microwaved
Honey after being microwaved

Mix the cocoa into the honey:

Cocoa mixed into honey
Cocoa mixed into honey

Mix the applesauce, oil, egg and vanilla into a bowl and pour into the cocoa honey mixture. Cool to room temperature:

pour applesauce/egg mixture into honey/cocoa mixture
pour applesauce/egg mixture into honey/cocoa mixture

Once combined it looks like this:

honeycoco2

Mix the wet and dry ingredients and stir until no flour shows:

honeycocomixed

Pour into an 8×8 pan which has been sprayed with cooking spray:

browniesinpan

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes until the edges look dry.

Sorry for the dark picture, my flash stopped working...
Sorry for the dark picture, my flash stopped working…

Once cooled, cut into 16 pieces and enjoy!!!

We had already dug in!  YUM!!
We had already dug in! YUM!!
Lovely bites of chocolatey bliss!!
Lovely bites of chocolatey bliss!!

Honestly, I am a chocoholic, and these satisfied my sweet tooth!!!  (Which is pretty big)

ENJOY!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My attempt at making Homemade Ravioli

I decided to venture back into my kitchen recently to tackle another thing on the Culinary bucket list!

Last time I made Chocolate Lava Cakes, which was a fiasco.  The inside was decidedly NOT lava-ish and the cakes were quite bitter.  I ended up throwing them out.  Which made me sad (wasted chocolate) and annoyed (wasted money).

This time I decided to try something for dinner.  In true Carol Rood fashion I researched my food choice to find a recipe that seemed worthwhile, then I added white whole wheat flour to make it a little healthier.  (Sorry, I think I have mentioned before I am a bit compulsive?) After lots of research I ended up using a recipe from Taste of Home recipes.  I will say however, that I ended up with LOTS of leftovers pasta dough and cheese mixture which I currently have in my freezer.  6 cups of flour made A LOT of dough!!

HOMEMADE CHEESE RAVIOLI

  • 6 to 6-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • FILLING:
  • 1 carton (15 oz) ricotta cheese (I used skim)
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • Place 6 cups flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Beat the eggs, water and oil; pour into well. Stir together, forming a ball. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes, adding remaining flour if necessary to keep dough from sticking. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Divide pasta dough into fourths; roll one portion to 1/16-in. thickness. (Keep pasta covered until ready to use.) Working quickly, place rounded teaspoonfuls of filling 1 in. apart over half of pasta sheet. Brush around filling with water to moisten. Fold sheet over; press down to seal. Cut into squares with a pastry wheel. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  • Bring a soup kettle of salted water to a boil. Add ravioli. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer; cook for 1-2 minutes or until ravioli float to the top and are tender. Drain. Spoon sauce over ravioli. Yield: 6 servings.
Eggs in flour
Eggs in flour

The eggs didn’t stay quite where they were supposed to…..lol

eggs and flour mess

 

Mozzarella and ricotta cheese
Mozzarella and ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese into bowl
Parmesan cheese into bowl
Fresh basil, and oregano from my garden, and store bought parsley
Fresh basil, and oregano from my garden, and store bought parsley
Cheeses and herbs
Cheeses and herbs
all mixed up
all mixed together
Rolled dough.  (I don't have a pasta roller so I used my rolling pin)
Rolled dough. (I don’t have a pasta roller so I used my rolling pin)
Cheese on rolled out dough
Cheese on rolled out dough

dough on cheese doughI rolled another dough sheet and cut strip to place on cheese and dough on counter.

Ravioli press
Ravioli press

Using the press I made little ravioli circles and placed each one on some parchment paper.

Lots of ravioli
Lots of ravioli

Then I boiled them (one serving at a time).

boiling ravioli
boiling ravioli
Ravioli on plate before sauce
Ravioli on plate before sauce

And the finished product:

 

YUMMY!!!
YUMMY!!!

This was a successful attempt at pasta.  However, I did learn a few things:

1) I really need a pasta roller.  It was difficult to get the pasta as thin as it should be. I felt as though the ravioli were a little too thick.

2) I need to get a Ravioli mold.  There wasn’t much cheese in my raviolis, so a mold will help get more cheese in there.

Ravioli mold
Ravioli mold

Other than that, it was time consuming but I enjoyed it.  I will make whole wheat pasta next time so it is healthier!

This venture into the kitchen was a SUCCESS!  And Delicious!  My kids loved them also!!!!